What We Like
- Lots of control over its performance.
- Modular tonearm that allows for cartridge replacement.
- Decent performance that is consistent.
What We Don’t Like
- Plastic base.
Music Hall USB-1 offers a reliable way of ripping vinyl into digital formats at an affordable price. It is by far one of the most interesting turntables under $200 at the moment. Let’s take a closer look.
The overall aesthetics of Music Hall USB1 are generally attractive. They went with a simple black base, although the material of choice is somewhat odd for this particular price range. The entire base is plastic. We definitely understand using plastics in super affordable models, but at this price, you’d figure they would use something different. However, that is just our little pet peeve.
Music Hall USB1 is decently put together and inspires enough confidence when used where that base is really a non-issue. Controls are mounted on top of the base, under the tonearm assembly as well as the platter. They are easily accessible and feel fine under the hand.
Lastly, we have the chunky feet that do a lot towards minimizing the effects of vibrations. Viewed from a distance, Music Hall USB1 comes across as pretty decent looker and something you could stick into any interior with no worries.
Moving on to features, we should probably start with the essential hardware. Music Hall USB1 uses a decent belt drive system that was designed to be as quiet as possible. The platter is an aluminum die-cast unit that has been machined with an acceptable amount of precision.
Music Hall USB1 features an S-shaped tone arm that comes loaded with Audio-Technica’s AT3600L cartridge, although you can easily swap it out should you want or need to. There’s also manual anti-skating control as well as pitch adjustment control that gives you +-10% adjustable pitch. Music Hall USB packs a built-in phono amp that is unfortunately not switchable. While this is not a huge deal, it does limit the upgrade paths available.
USB port along with standard RCA line outs means that you can rip vinyl directly to your computer. Music Hall even ships these with a copy of Audacity, although that software is free and available online anyways.
When it comes to performance, Music Hall USB1 delivers a decent experience. They are marketing this unit towards casual fans of vinyl as well aspiring DJs. For the latter, it might be a bit of a stretch. Belt drive alone prevents it from being capable of reaching the levels of precision necessary for DJ work.
However, if you are just getting into the hobby and you want something to get you by, Music Hall USB1 will definitely work. The fact that you can swap the cartridge is a big thing. It adds range to what is still an entry level turntable. The sound is good considering the built-in phono amp, allowing you to enjoy a solid listening experience.
With all that said, the most important value this thing brings to the table is the level of control it offers. Music Hall USB1 is a great turntable for learning how to use these awesome machines.
Music Hall USB1 is a solid performer that gets you tons of flexibility at a great price. It is a good starter model for anyone looking to get into this hobby the right way. Overall, it’s definitely worth looking into.